Sci-fi fans raise £300k for charity

Capital sci-fi con

Actors James Mackenzie and Jimmy Vee with Adam Meldrum (middle)

This year's Capital Sci-Fi Con raised tens of thousands of pounds, as fundraising for CHAS hit a new milestone 

20th May 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A popular sci-fi convention continues to raise staggering amounts of funding for a Scottish charity.

Capital Sci-Fi Con – Edinburgh’s not-for-profit sci-fi, movie and pop culture event – has revealed the amount raised by the 2020 convention at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange and activity in the 12 months leading up to it has reached an out of this world £59,085.39.

For the last five years, thousands of passionate fans have gathered with the cream of the science fiction and fantasy genre to ultimately raise money for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

The event is driven and organised by a group of volunteer ‘causeplayers’, led by Livingston man Keith Armour, whose herculean efforts for the charity have been recognised by Downing Street’s Points of Light initiative. The accumulated total of their fundraising superpowers now stands at £310,981.46.

Highlights over the last five years have included special appearances from no less than five incarnations of Doctor Who – Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Capaldi and David Bradley, plus countless heroes (and villains) from the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones series. 

The stars have been joined by an army of comic book illustrators, story tellers, memorabilia vendors and custom film prop sets to welcome the public – which includes families from all four corners of the country who receive support from CHAS – for a weekend of intergalactic fun.

Fiona Leslie, senior CHAS community fundraiser, said: “Keith and his team of causeplayers are an inspirational community of people. Through their infectious passion and five years of tireless work, they’ve managed to raise an astounding £311,000 for CHAS.

“We’ve been particularly overwhelmed by the level of support we’ve had from the science fiction community throughout these past few difficult months, from the public who have attended Keith’s events to those who got involved in our May the 4th awareness day and fundraiser, which raised almost a further £10,000 on its own.

“We simply couldn’t continue to do this work without people like Keith, his fundraisers and the rest of our passionate and committed supporters who lift us up in so many ways. The awareness they create and funds they raise help us on our mission of reaching every child in Scotland with a life-shortening condition. The current pandemic has put many obstacles in front of us, but we’re even more determined to reach those families.”

Keith Armour, founder of Capital Sci-Fi Con, said: “I’m so pleased with the way everybody came together to pull off this year’s Capital Sci-Fi Con and the many satellite events we had surrounding it. Since we launched five years ago, it continues to be a labour of love made for fans, by fans.

“When I look back at some of our highlights and milestones so far, it’s mind-blowing. Seeing families from Rachel and Robin House often come over to take a break and enjoy the occasion has always made our events a sincerely gratifying thing to be a part of in itself. Whenever the coast is clear, we can’t wait to get back at it!”

All money raised by Capital Sci-Fi Con and the team’s various mini conventions and cinema cosplay events throughout the country are donated to CHAS - the only charity in Scotland that provides hospice services for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

The national charity offers palliative care and respite for the whole family via its two hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch. The CHAS at Home service supports families in their own homes across the whole of Scotland and has teams working in communities and hospitals across the country.

Like many other charities left reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, CHAS has had to dramatically transform the way in which it provides its increasingly important services. They have set up Scotland’s first ever virtual hospice to support children and families who are having to completely self-isolate.

The virtual hospice is now eight weeks in, offering families extensive support, whether it relates to clinical guidance, financial advice or bereavement support, by video and phone. CHAS family support teams are also offering an expanding range of interactive activities, art clubs, storytelling and conference calls to children and parents, with more in the pipeline.

Although stringent measures are currently in place to safeguard families, those needing urgent physical and end of life care are still welcome at the hospice, where staff work tirelessly to provide children with the palliative assistance they need.